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explained | Which is the lumpy skin disease affecting cattle in India? What are its economic implications and does it affect milk for consumption?

The viral infection has killed around 75,000 cattle in India and spread to more than 10 states and union territories, leaving Rajasthan the worst affected

The viral infection has killed around 75,000 cattle in India and spread to more than 10 states and union territories, leaving Rajasthan the worst affected

the story So FarMumbai Police has ordered a ban on animal transport in the city to prevent the spread of heat wave.ampi skin disease, This means that cattle cannot be taken out of the place where they are being raised or taken to markets. The order came into force on September 14 and will remain in force till October 13. The disease has claimed 127 cattle lives in Maharashtra, which has spread to 25 districts. The contagious viral infection has so far spread to cattle in more than 10 states and union territories. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week said that the Center and states are working together to control the spread of the disease, which has emerged as a matter of concern for the dairy sector.

What is lumpy skin disease and how is it spread?

Lumpy skin disease is caused by nodular skin disease virus (LSDV), which belongs to the genus Capripoxvirus, a part of the poxviridae family (smallpox and monkeypox viruses are also part of the same family). LSDV shares antigenic similarities with sheeppox virus (SPPV) and goatpox virus (GTPV) or is similar in immune response to those viruses. It is not a zoonotic virus, which means that the disease cannot be transmitted to humans. It is an infectious vector-borne disease that is spread by vectors such as mosquitoes, some biting flies and ticks and usually affects host animals such as cows and buffaloes. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), infected animals release the virus through oral and nasal secretions that can contaminate common food and water pools. Thus, the disease can be spread either through direct contact with vectors or through contaminated feed and water. Studies have also shown that it can be spread through animal semen during artificial insemination.

LSD affects the lymph nodes of an infected animal, causing the nodes to become enlarged and appear like lumps on the skin, from which it derives its name. Cutaneous nodules, 2–5 cm in diameter, appear on the head, neck, limbs, udder, genitals and perineum of infected cattle. The nodules may later turn into ulcers and eventually develop a crust on the skin. Other symptoms include high fever, a sharp drop in milk yield, discharge from the eyes and nose, drooling, loss of appetite, depression, damaged skin, debility (thinness or weakness), infertility and miscarriage. The incubation period or the time between infection and symptoms is about 28 days according to the FAO and 4 to 14 days according to some other estimates.

The morbidity of the disease ranges between two and 45% and the mortality rate or rate to date is less than 10%, however, the reported mortality rate of current outbreaks in India is as high as 15%, especially in the western part. In the cases being (Rajasthan) of the country

What is the geographical distribution and how did it spread in India?

The disease was first observed in Zambia in 1929, which has since spread extensively to most African countries, followed by West Asia, Southeast Europe and Central Asia, and most recently in 2019 to South Asia and China. spread up. According to the FAO, LSD diseases are currently endemic in several countries in Africa, parts of West Asia (Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic) and Turkey.

Read also | Lumpy skin disease virus isolated from 2019 edition

The spread in South Asia first affected Bangladesh in July 2019 and then reached India in August of that year, with initial cases detected in Odisha and West Bengal. The FAO states: “The long porous borders between India, Nepal and Bangladesh allow a significant amount of bilateral and informal animal trade, including cattle and buffaloes.” This, the UN body says, may have contributed to the spread of LSD between Bangladesh and India in July-August 2019. While the 2019 outbreak later subsided, the most recent spread in India began in June this year.

Is it safe to consume milk from affected cattle?

Studies suggest that it is not possible to detect the presence of viable and infectious LSDV virus in milk obtained from an infected animal. However, the FAO notes that a large proportion of milk in Asia is processed after collection and either pasteurized or boiled or dried to make milk powder. This process ensures that the virus is inactivated or destroyed.

Notably, the joint director of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) told PTI that it is safe to consume milk from cattle infected with nodular skin disease, as it is a non-zoonotic disease.

Mr. Mohanty said, “It is safe to consume milk from infected cattle. Boiling or drinking milk without boiling does not affect its quality.”

What are the economic implications?

The spread of the disease could cause “substantial” and “serious” economic losses, according to the FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). This disease reduces milk production as the animal becomes weak and also loses appetite due to mouth ulcers. Loss of income can also be due to poor growth, low draft potency and fertility problems associated with abortion, infertility and lack of semen for artificial insemination. Post-transition movement and trade restrictions also put economic pressure on the entire value chain.

A risk assessment study by the FAO based on available information from 2019 to October 2020 showed that the economic impact of LSD for South, East and Southeast Asian countries could be “up to $1.45 billion in direct loss of livestock and production.” was estimated”.

The current outbreak in India has emerged as a challenge for the dairy sector. India is the world’s largest milk producer with about 210 million tonnes annually. India also has the largest number of cattle and buffaloes in the world.

In Rajasthan, which is witnessing the worst effects of the lumpy skin disease, it has reduced milk production, which has reduced by about three to six lakh liters a day. Reports indicate that milk production in Punjab has also come down due to the spread of the disease.

Read also | Lumpy skin disease won’t affect milk production, says Amul MD

According to the FAO, the disease threatens the livelihood of small poultry farmers. Notably, farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have suffered losses due to cattle deaths and are demanding compensation from their state governments.

How bad is the current spread in India and what is the government doing?

The current outbreak began around July in Gujarat and Rajasthan and spread to Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar and Uttarakhand by early August. After this it spread to Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. In recent weeks, it was reported in Maharashtra, Madhya PradeshDelhi, and Jharkhand, Till September 11, the virus has infected more than 16 lakh cattle in 197 districts. Of the approximately 75,000 cattle that died of the disease, more than 50,000 of them, mostly cows, have come from Rajasthan.

The FAO has recommended a set of spread-control measures for LSD, including vaccination of susceptible populations with more than 80% coverage, control and quarantine of movement of bovine animals, through vector control by clearing sheds and spraying insecticides. Including implementing biosecurity from, strengthening active. passive monitoring; Spread awareness about risk mitigation among all stakeholders involved, and create larger protection and surveillance zones and vaccination zones.

The Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has reported that the ‘Goat Pox Vaccine’ is “very effective” against LSD and is being used to contain the spread in the affected states. Till the first week of September, 97 lakh doses of vaccination have been given. Affected states have imposed restrictions on movement and isolating infected cattle and buffaloes, spraying insecticides to kill vectors such as mosquitoes, with some affected states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh also carrying out dedicated controls. Cell and helpline numbers have been set up. Guide the farmers whose cattle have become infected.

In a major breakthrough, two institutes of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) have developed an indigenous vaccine for LSD, which the Center plans to commercialize and roll out in the next three to four months. The vaccine is based on samples of LSD virus from cattle in Ranchi afflicted by the 2019 outbreak and experimental trials conducted with the vaccine on animals affected by the ongoing 2022 outbreak have yielded encouraging results, the ICAR and the agriculture ministry have said.

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